Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has announced plans by government to process 30 per cent of gold ore produced by the mining companies locally, beginning from November this year.
He said it was government’s policy to add value to the country’s natural resources and urged multi-national mining firms operating in Ghana to pool resources together to establish a mining refinery.
“It is clear that we have not benefitted from the raw materials that have been extracted and taken out of the country, and so with the value addition, it’s very important to comply.
We’re all witnesses to the recent bill that was passed in Parliament to add value to our bauxite, and so the signal is clear that from the date the bill was passed for the next five years, we’ll not allow raw bauxite in its current form to be taken out of this country,” Mr Amewu emphasised.
Mr Amewu told journalists in an interview when he led a delegation from the Ministry, Mineral Commission and Mineral Development Fund to the Ghana Bauxite Company in Awaso in the Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai District of the Western Region.
The Minister used his visit to acquaint himself with the operations and challenges of the Company.
The government owned 20 per cent shares in the Ghana Bauxite Company while Bosai Mineral Group of China has 80 per cent.
Mr Amewu queried the management of the Bauxite Company for engaging in an affiliate transaction with a sister mining company in China, to sell bauxite ore for processing without the consent of the government.
He stated that the mining lease agreement signed between the Bauxite Company and government of Ghana required the former to consult the latter in any relationship deal outside.
He added that the Bauxite Company had violated the Sales and Purchase Agreement it signed with the government in 2014, noting that, the Company had been paying far less sales prices to the government than what was agreed.
“When there is increased in prices, government doesn’t get the premium and so when there is a fall why should we be penalised for discount?” the Minister asked.
Mr Amewu averred that the Company should adhere strictly to the terms of the agreement in order to avoid suffering punitive action such as cancellation of the mining lease licence.
“The Ministry has very broad powers and the Minister has the right in the public interest to terminate agreements because Ghanaians have been cheated for far too long, and there are procedures for suspensions when things are not being done accurately,” he said.
Mr Amewu stated that he would start exercising those powers to sanction defaulting companies in order to ensure that the nation benefitted from her raw materials to support national development.
He said there were multi-national companies incurring losses and, thus, used that as an excuse to default in payment of corporate taxes to the government.
” We need to investigate why those companies are incurring losses and feel comfortable in that position, and so government wouldn’t like to be in a marriage with companies that are not making profit,” Mr Amewu stated.